Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fueling Tourism

While Congress is searching for an easy answer for the fuel crisis, many US citizens are heading to Mexico as, what the NY Times has called "gas tourists," due to the still lower pump prices there resulting from government subsidies. Driving further to get cheaper fuel seems like such an "American" tradition. Of course, if you're in New York, you just cross the border to Jersey.
This also reminds us of the different forms of medical tourism (which we have posted about here before), where often wealthy tourists travel for lower cost procedures, or in some cases treatments not available at home.
See our friend Ricardo Miranda Zuniga's investigation of dental tourism along the US-Mexico border.

13 comments:

Arige Prakash said...

Is Medical Tourism for Me? I've heard mixed reviews of medical tourism. Is plastic surgery really safe in Thailand? Are Indian doctors qualified?
In very few instances, the treatments are not available at home, but most of them travel for cheap treatment. You are right, mainly wealthy tourists travel for treatment abroad. Thanks!

Robbie said...

None of our patients who've traveled for medical care are wealthy. Almost all have no insurance and can't afford the treatment they need near home. If you use a reputable medical tourism company, they will have done extensive research on the facilities they partner with, assuring that your care is as good or better than what you'd find in the U.S. Long waiting lists is another the non-wealthy travel for care. Check out the stories of patients, and you'll see it's not the wealthy at all: http://www.worldmedassist.com/medical_tourism_testimonials.htm

ryan griffis said...

Well, we can't speak for your patients, and we didn't mean to suggest ALL medical tourists were wealthy. And we should have been more selective with our words, since you are right that (lack of) insurance coverage, especially here in the US is certainly a large reason for many to travel for care. However, historically speaking medical tourism has been for the wealthy, and judging by the stories we've read, elective surgeries represent a large number of medical trips. That said, we also didn't mean a value judgment with the adjective "wealthy". More significant to us is the problem of yet another private industry profiting in the role of middle man between people and health care, and of course the ridiculousness of having to fly thousands of miles for treatment. As the cost of travel becomes even less accessible, those who HAVE TO travel for care will be in even more of a mess if the situation doesn't change.

Robbie said...

Even with the cost of travel increasing, consider this: A Washington state patient saved 95% of the cost for his Cardiac RF Ablation in India. That's leaves a lot of room for travel/fuel price increases

ryan griffis said...

Hard to argue with a $4,500 procedure versus a $70,000 one. But that just begs the question... what explains the price differential? And is that difference sustainable in the end? The glaring ridiculousness of medical tourism as a solution to unaffordable health care is hard to overlook. Should the droves of "middle class" people, now joining the ranks of the uninsured poor, start making sure their passports are up date in the event of a medical emergency, since they can afford a trip to Turkey, but not heart surgery?
And, I have to ask what's with the use of this picture to promote medical tourism in Mexico?

Robbie said...

Ryan, I have no idea where you found that picture and how it's associated with medical tourism...sure isn't from our site/company.
As to sustainability of price difference, yes, it's sustainable until the U.S. can find a way to get out from under three huge burdens: a) malpractice lawsuits (subject of a whole 'nuther discussion) b) insurance bureaucracy, rates, and paperwork that distracts doctors from practicing medicine and c) outdated technology that's being quilted together with new technology (international destinations building up their medical tourism industry have built brand new hospitals with leading edge technology that many of our hospitals can't afford to do all at once).

ryan griffis said...

Source of the picture. Found it browsing through the link posted on the second comment from robbie.

dhana said...

Patient Health Records provides benefits such as storing and sharing of patients’ health records ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of patients’ information. This wipes out all the errors, associated with the conventional paper based system. It collects and stores the patients’ health information data from all the sources like hospitals, laboratories, healthcare professionals, pharmacies and insurance companies etc.

dhana said...

If you are looking for ‘online doctors’ for specific medical questions, you can register on simple click button on emedreport form below for a free medical advice. They will provide good information online doctors directory of populated doctors who are aiming to provide world class medical facilities by registering on eMedreport. One of the most key features is providing online doctor consultation with best doctors with proven track record in their specialties. Patients can consult online best doctors and can fix appointment for any medical consultation and can also make available their medical records like XRays Ultra Sound CT SCAN anytime anywhere.

viju said...

You dont have to be rich to choose medical tourism. In fact, you go to India, Mexico for surgery to save money, not because you have too much money.

Octavio Herrera Guardiola said...

Tourism and medical industry is a great combination, getting vacations while getting a new nose or breasts is very interesting.

I found this website: http://www.cosmetic-tourism-guide.com
they sell a guide to plan a medical tourism trip

Octavio Herrera Guardiola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WorldNomad said...

Historically, Medical Tourism was mostly popular with the more affluent set especially seeking cosmetic surgery abroad - but it has now moved to be much more main-stream. It is just hard to argue with the realities of the cost savings.

There really isn't a problem with the middle men making a profit for their services, they are providing a legitimate service. The real problem is why the costs are so out of proportion. Right now the reality is that you can get the same, or much better, healthcare outside of the united states at a fraction of the cost. As long as that remains true, people should take advantage of the cost savings overseas.